Helga Ivanova

4 years ago I was introduced to the BTC by a co-worker of mine Mark Sommers. I had a strong believe I will be an Ironman one day…at that time I could not swim to the other end of the pool, I never owned a bike (my dad had a severe bike injury and made sure non of us kids ever owned a bike or learn to bike). The only thing I knew was to run some middle distances, despite couple broken bones, ACL replacement and meniscus tear. Little did I know that many of the BTC members I met while working out and at some races and events will become my closest friends and family.

I definitely have come long way, completed my first 1/2 distance IM aqua at Barrellman in September… unfortunately I have been dealing with injuries last 3 years. So I raced if I could or if I could not I volunteered or was a sherpa… I volunteered at Score-This races, the Buffalo Marathon BTC water stops, IMLP, and the lastest Light in the Darkness…it’s a very humbling experience to be part of the journeys and unbelievable achievements of others…high class athletes and unbroken spirits despite horrible circumstances is what the club members are made of.

I have been able to improve above and beyond because of the friendships, support, resources, sponsors, and all organized events the club has offered. I love and am a proud member of the BTC club,  not to mention BTC gear has one of the best designs…It will be an honor for me to be able to serve as a board member.


Helga Ivanova

Brad Hilimon

My name is Brad Hilimon, that “tall guy” you’ve probably seen at numerous BTC events the last four years. I was nominated to run the for BTC board. Five years ago I never would have imagined that someone would want me to help run a triathlon club but I will throw my name into the election and see what happens. Like many people I didn’t get into this until I was in my 30s but over the last four years I’ve come to like the sport more than I ever expected to.

My first race was a Tri in the Buff in 2014 where I had no idea what I was doing. The crazy waves that day didn’t make for a great first experience but I stuck with it. Soon after that race I joined the BTC and since then I’ve completed 9 more triathlons including IM Lake Placid 70.3 in September, IM Syracuse 70.3 in 2016 and various olympic and sprint races locally and across the state. In that time I’ve also completed 13 running races ranging from 5-25K on both road and trails.

I’m confident I would never have gotten this far without the opportunities the BTC has offered over the years, especially the open water swims and swim coaching opportunities. The BTC only exists because of the continued volunteer support from its members. There’s something to be said when you can go to races across the state (and in other states!) and people yell out “BTC!” along the course.

I’ll never win any races and I’m not sure I’ll ever do a “full” anything but if I can help get more people involved in the sport I’ll consider it a win. I’m looking forward to cheering people on in Lake Placid again next summer and possibly being a member of the BTC board.

– Brad Hilimon

Denise Perry Salmons

I have been a member of BTC for 5 years. When I joined BTC I was brand new to this sport. I had no idea
what I was getting into. This group welcomed me and my life hasn’t been the same since.

Over the yearsI completed my first Sprint, Ironman Wilmington in 2016 and most recently IMLP in July. Thanks to the support of this club and it’s members, who are now like family, the road to Ironman has been paved with more support than I ever imagined. Being on the Board will give me an opportunity to give back to the club and it’s members who have been there for me! Not to mention, I bring along killer cupcakes and a great club photographer!


Denise Perry Salmons

Renee Sossong-Brady

Dear Fellow BTC Family Members,

I would like to take a moment to thank whoever it was that nominated me for a seat on the BTC Board.  I was humbled to receive the email that informed me.  It would be an honor to give back to the club/family that has  done so much for me over the past few years.  I was a late bloomer as far as triathlon or any kind of physical activity.  I started running just five years ago and literally stumbled into triathlon as a way to keep training through a running injury.  I have not only become addicted to the sport but also the people and the atmosphere surrounding triathlon.  I cannot imagine my life without it.  My teenage daughter did her first triathlon this summer and I am seeing her quickly be drawn into the family as well.  I feel blessed by the experiences and growth that have occurred in my life by being a part of the BTC family.  At this time, I would like the opportunity to give back by volunteering as a board member.  If selected, my energy and enthusiasm would allow me to put my unique talents to use serving the BTC family in whatever capacity needed.

Best Regards, Renee Sossong-Brady



BTC’ERS – this year for our Banquet, we are donating to the Buffalo Animal Shelter, a place very special to me & Mishka (this picture was Mishka at the Shelter on the day she was going home with me) … For every item/cash donation ($1.00 = 1 ticket) you can get extra tickets for some AWESOME prizes from our AMAZING SPONSORS!!! There will also be a 50/50 raffle …

BTC have always been generous and I am so excited to be giving back to the Shelter.

Below are a list of wish-list items they are asking for and ALWAYS in need for. I will have a bin to fill (one of the items requested) with donations.

If not going to the Banquet and still want to donate – Mishka and I will come out to collect!

Thank You BTC – you are an amazing group

  • Pate style canned dog food any brand for filling Kongs
  • New or used strong, sturdy dog leashes
  • Bleach
  • HE laundry soap
  • New or gently used Kong dog toys, not the very small size
  • Any kind of cat toys
  • New or gently used/clean cat beds
  • New or gently used/clean large dog crates, x-pens
  • New or gently used/clean cat carriers
  • Soft dog treats for training
  • Canned cat and kitten food, any style or brand
  • Dish soap and dishwasher detergent
  • New or gently used/ clean strong dog collars
  • Large Rubbermaid type bins for storing stuffed Kongs
  • Essential oils for making dog enrichment toys

Joe Pautler

screen-shot-2016-11-01-at-4-28-49-pmMy name is Joe Pautler and I have been a member of the BTC since 2005. I joined the club because I wanted a safe way to practice open water swimming before my first sprint triathlon, but I quickly found that the club had FAR more to offer than just that. I became very active in the club and established great friendships with the other members. I am sometimes asked why I devote so much time and effort to the BTC, and the answer is quite simple. I have benefited greatly from the previous and current members of the club and I want to make sure that the club continues to stay strong and provide those same benefits to the existing and future members for many years to come. The success of the BTC is due entirely to the members and volunteers that contribute to it. It is great that we have so many people that are eager to donate their time and services for the betterment of the club, and I just want to do my part. Here is a quick list of some of the ways that I have contributed to the BTC over the years:

  • Coordinated all north town weekly brick activities for 2006-2008 & 2011-2013 including the posting of weekly results and the creation and distribution of the year-end awards. I designed and implemented many of the practices that we continue to use today, such as the event formats, the laminated race numbers on race belts, the Members’ Memorial Time Trial, etc.
  • Served as BTC webmaster and IT Guru for 2005-2008 & 2011-present. I did a complete overhaul of the web site in 2005, and again in 2011, in order to update the information and create a site that is consistent with our club branding. I also take care of the buffalotriathlonclub.com domain name (including all of our email addresses and file repository), the oversight of our facebook group and our online club calendar, the care and maintenance of our membership database tools, the administration of all of our online registration forms and PayPal account, and the composition and sending of our monthly ‘email blasts.’
  • Served on the BTC board of directors 2011-present, and was the Vice President in 2012, 2013, & 2016. VP duties included scheduling the board meetings, producing the meeting agendas, and facilitating the meeting discussions.
  • Founded the BTC library and drafted the initial policies and procedures for it. I also designed/created various BTC promotional brochures, membership application forms, and workout sign-in sheets over the years.
  • Served on the membership committee 2013-present. Duties include answering inquiries from current and prospective members and assisting with the processing of online member registrations and renewals.
  • Represented and promoted the BTC at various events over the years, such as setting up and staffing information tables at health and wellness fairs, setting up and staffing the BTC tent at various races and events, etc.
  • Coordinated the design, purchase, and distribution of various club apparel orders (race kits, tech shirts, hats, etc).
  • Have written approximately 25 articles for the BTC newsletter & blog over the years, covering topics such as race reports, gear reviews, commuting via bicycle, etc.

Although I had to take a break from racing in 2014-2015, due to rupturing my ACL playing indoor lacrosse, my racing history includes approximately eighty 5k/8k/10k/15k running races, fifteen half-marathons, four full marathons, twenty-five Sprint and Olympic triathlons, ten 70.3 triathlons, and two IRONMAN 140.6 races (Wisconsin & Lake Placid).

screen-shot-2016-11-01-at-4-28-12-pmWhen I’m not swimming, biking, and running, I work for the University at Buffalo as the Technical Program Manager for the data network. I am responsible for the technical oversight (planning, design, budgeting, implementation, etc) for all of the routers, switches, firewalls, etc, that provide Internet access and network connectivity to more than 120 buildings on the 3 UB campuses (Amherst, Main St, and down town). Our network provides services to approximately 30,000 students and 6,000 faculty and staff. I live in Depew NY, with my wife Paula and our guinea pigs Chip and Cadbury. Paula is also quite active in the BTC. She has completed many running races and also really enjoys riding her bike. She did her first (and probably last) triathlon at the Summer Sizzler in 2011, just so she could say that she did one. She is not a big fan of open water swimming. In 2013 she completed the Disney World Goofy Challenge (half marathon and full marathon on consecutive days) as well as the Disney Coast to Coast challenge (requiring a full or half marathon in both Disney World and Disney Land in the same calendar year).

Regardless of whether or not I am re-elected to the board, I look forward to continuing my involvement with the BTC, and helping out in whatever ways that I can to benefit our club, our sport, and our community.

Mark Knerr

Hello My name is Mark Knerr,

It is a great honor to be nominated to the board of directors of the greatest tri Club in the world.
This will be my 4th year as a member of the BTC and look forward to giving back to the club that has done so much for me and my triathlon experience. I have been the Ride for Roswell team captain for the last three years and have helped out with the club tents. I have had the opportunity to participate in many tri’s at many different venues and each time have brought back many great experiences from each. I always make an effort to meet and introduce myself to the new members and make them feel welcomed.

I also enjoy spending time in the outdoors with my better half Laura and our families when we can.Some of my other interest are Boating, water and snow skiing, and hikes with the dogs. I look forward to serving in whatever capacity best suits me if elected.

Thank you


George Hackford


Hello fellow BTC Members!

I’m running for another term on our Board. If elected you can count on me to represent the club and perform in the same capacity that I have for the past 2 yrs; ie helping distribute apparel/gear, sharing tent duties, and organizing/running our Northtown Bricks and TT’s. BTC is Family…and is undoubtedly the best Tri Club on the Planet. Every single member has motivated, inspired, or helped me in one way or another.

To sum things up, my main goal is to do everything possible to help maintain the quality and integrity of our organization.

Thank You for considering your vote!

George Hackford

David Shapiro

screen-shot-2016-11-06-at-9-03-04-amI have been a BTC member for the 15 years I have lived here. I am honored to be nominated and if elected would do my best to continue the great job the BTC does in supporting our local athletes. I realize that the BTC is only so successful because of all of those who volunteer their time. I have been involved in the BTC more closely the last few years. I suggested and helped with the design and ordering of the tech shirts and I have volunteered at our Marathon water stop the last two years. I also volunteer for Amherst Meals on Wheels, am the Treasurer of my daughter’s soccer teams and raise money every year for the American Diabetes Association by riding in their Tour de Cure.

I am an Anesthesiologist at ECMC and The Center for Ambulatory Surgery but I have only worked half time the last 5 years so as to spend more time with my family (wife Mary, Daughter Alex 14 years old, Black Lab (Fifa 1 year old) while still pursuing multi-sports and Martial Arts (Krav Maga). I completed my first Full Ironman at Lake Placid this year. I had volunteered there the prior year (and at Chattanooga this year) and really appreciate how volunteering can be as inspiring as racing.

Alisha Gannon

screen-shot-2016-11-06-at-8-50-02-amAs a kid, I fell in love with triathlons after watching Kona for the first time on Television. It was all new to me and I never thought I would ever compete in a triathlon, let alone an Ironman! At first it was a passing desire until later on in life while working as a personal trainer and a client encouraged me to try a triathlon.

A few years later, I have competed in numerous triathlons of all distances. The races that I’m most proud of are Ironman Maryland 2015 and Lake Placid 2016. I have been involved with the BTC for a couple years, frequently attending the Lake Eire swims.

The BTC and the people involved have motivated and helped me to meet my goals during the two Ironman races. This club is great for those who are new to triathlons and offers the experienced racer ways to share with others.
screen-shot-2016-11-06-at-8-49-50-amOther than my obvious obsession over triathlons, I have gained 11 years of valuable experience being involved with the Western N.Y. Herpetological Society. I served as President for 6 straight years, Vice President 3 years, and board member for 2 years. During this time I have developed excellent organization and management skills. I have also been responsible for promoting the club, organization of demos for the community, and setting volunteer assignments. I managed  all aspects of the vendor sales for the yearly reptile show as well as recruiting volunteers, advertising, donations, selling tables to vendors, venue arrangement, and customer service.